The Crucible (1996)

Though I yawned through most of it, this is the more-watchable of 
the two.  Arthur Miller's 1953 play, about the Salem witch trials, 
was written as an allegory for the anti-Communist hearings being 
held back then.  Four decades later and the noticeably less-potent 
subject matter is further diluted by director Nicholas Hytner's 
(THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE) humorless (and colorless) approach.  
(Regarding the latter matter, Andrew Dunn's relentlessly dark 
cinematography is a squint-inducer that results in at least one 
unintended distraction.  When Daniel Day Lewis flashes a set of 
seriously yellow teeth in a late scene, some may have to turn away 
to keep from being blinded!)  Mercifully, the movie is saved by a 
bevy of powerful performances, from Wynona Ryder's nymphet trouble-
maker to Joan Allen's unflinching, unyielding wife.  And, of 
course, who won't love listening to Paul Scofield (QUIZ SHOW) 
rumble through the accusing tones of Judge John Danforth?  (Rated 
"PG-13"/123 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1997 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: January 5, 1997

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